The European Commission has drawn conclusions on past initiatives, such as aid programmes under the European Social Funds (2007-2014), has adopted stronger rules to fight terrorism financing, and has proposed to set a new capacity building initiative for micro-credit and social finance providers and to reinforce the Schengen Information System to better fight terrorism and cross-border crime. In addition, it has issued data on social protection across the EU and on EU citizens’ main concerns, a publication on child returnees from conflict zones, a comparative analysis on non-discrimination law in Europe and an assessment of Social Investment Synergies.
On 1/01, Malta took over the Presidency of the Council of the EU, a body that is responsible for approving and debating over a big number of Commission proposals with the European Parliament and whose Presidency has the advantage of giving an orientation to the EU policy output. Malta has prioritised migration, terrorism and radicalisation on top of its agenda, as its official programme, a briefing note by Weber-Shandwick and a press release by ECRE indicate and assess.
As for EU agencies, Frontex has created a new pool of return experts who will support the return of migrants across the EU, while FRA presented its major goals for 2017 as well as its calendar of activities.
At national level, ECRE reports that the suspension of Dublin procedures to Greece set to end on 15 March 2017 as first step towards the full restoration of the system in Greece, while German ministers agree tougher rules for migrants posing security risk. In Italy a large-scale expansion of detention centres might be implemented for tougher migration control, and the number of Nigerian women trafficked to Italy for sex almost doubled in 2016.
To read the InfoFlash from Europe, see here